Al­leged ex­tor­tion: Court ad­mits phone mes­sages, others against Sani

The Punch - - News - Ade Ade­s­o­moju, Abuja

THE Fed­eral High Court in Abuja on Wed­nes­day ad­mit­ted as ex­hibits mes­sages and voice notes ex­tracts from the phones of a for­mer Kaduna Cen­tral se­na­tor, Shehu Sani, and that of a busi­ness­man who ac­cused the ex-law­maker of $25,000 ex­tor­tion.

The Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion had on Jan­uary 27, 2020 ar­raigned the for­mer se­na­tor for fraud in­volv­ing al­leged ex­tor­tion of $25,000 from one Al­haji Sani Dauda, who runs A.S.D. Mo­tors.

The com­mis­sion al­leged that Sani fraud­u­lently rep­re­sented the money as bribe for “the Chief Jus­tice of Nige­ria” and the act­ing Chair­man of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.

Dauda had ear­lier tes­ti­fied on Tues­day telling the court how he gave out the money to Sani in two tranches of $15,000 and $10,000.

He said he used his phone to record the voice notes dur­ing con­ver­sa­tions when Sani re­turned the money to him and when he came with his brother to beg for for­give­ness and with­drawal of the pe­ti­tion from the EFCC.

On Wed­nes­day, Dauda’s son, Mo­hammed Dauda, ap­peared in court as the sev­enth pros­e­cu­tion wit­ness, tes­ti­fy­ing how he helped to set his fa­ther’s phone on record­ing mode prior to Sani’s ar­rivals dur­ing the en­coun­ters with the busi­ness­man in Abuja and Kaduna.

He also told the court how he re­ceived sev­eral calls and a mes­sage from Sani’s brother, which he ig­nored.

Tes­ti­fy­ing as the eighth pros­e­cu­tion wit­ness, a dig­i­tal foren­sic an­a­lyst with the EFCC, Fa­tima Umar, told the court how she used Cellebrite Universal Ex­trac­tive De­vice to ex­tract text mes­sages, voice notes and deleted chats from Sani’s and Dauda’s phone.

Led in ev­i­dence by the pros­e­cut­ing coun­sel, Abba Mo­hammed, the wit­ness said the data ex­tracts from the phones were in un­read­able for­mat, so she said she “launched a phys­i­cal anal­yser to de­code and turn it into a read­able form.”

Fa­tima added, “Af­ter the ex­trac­tion, I re­turned the phones and I archived the data.

I burnt it on a CD (Com­pact Disc). The CD car­ries the record­ings, the text mes­sages I ex­tracted from the de­vices.

“I wrote a re­port on Jan­uary 17, 2020. I signed the re­port and it was signed by my pair review col­league, Vic­tor Okoloru.”

She in­formed the court that her find­ings on the ex­trac­tion con­tained in page 9 of the re­port, were on “text mes­sages be­tween the com­plainants and the sus­pect, the au­dio record­ings and deleted chats”.

Un­der cross-ex­am­i­na­tion by Sani’s lawyer, Mr Ab­dul Mo­hammed (SAN), the wit­ness con­firmed that nei­ther the for­mer se­na­tor nor his lawyer was present when the ex­trac­tion was done.

Asked if Sani con­sented to the ex­trac­tion from his phone, the wit­ness an­swered in the af­fir­ma­tive.

When asked to pro­duce proof, she pro­duced the con­sent form from her file.

Ear­lier, while be­ing cros­sex­am­ined by the de­fence lawyer, Mo­hammed, who is the com­plainant’s son, con­firmed that he was never part of the dis­cus­sion be­tween his fa­ther and Sani re­gard­ing the $25,000.

He also said he was not present when Sani al­legedly col­lected the money and re­turned it to his fa­ther.

But he said he was present when his fa­ther gave the money to the EFCC as ex­hibit.

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